Sunday, September 08, 2013

Let them swing their chickens

Do you really think we are practicing the same religion?

I don't go around telling Christians how to practice their religion. I don't tell Muslims or Buddhists either.

So what business do I have telling e.g. Chareidim, or e.g. Sefardim, that their practice is superstitious? Or that they should specifically use money instead. Let us say I can harness rabbinic sources who blasted the custom? E.g. Rav Yosef Karo. They can also harness rabbinic sources who support the custom. E.g. the Rama.

Next we will have Reform and Conservative coming out and blasting Orthodox practices, and speaking for the entire religion to the world.

On an individual level, I might discuss the topic with someone and present them with the halachic options, and opinions. And I might even try to show why I think the practice is superstitious, or assur, and I might promote the use of money in its place. But I wouldn't presume to undermine the entire practice publicly, and be the wood of the ax used to chop down trees, on behalf of those who don't really value Judaism at all.  (e.g. animal rights activists have their own agenda, but can make use of Jews protesting kapparot.)

Not everyone holds like the same rabbis I hold by; and people give greater weight to what has been established for generations as a holy minhag; and people put great stock in kabbalistic reasons for doing things. (Not my cup of tea, but again, not my "religion".)

From Rabbi Eli Mansour, on why Sefardim practice Kaparot with a chicken:
However, it has been revealed that the Arizal (Rabbi Yishak Luria of Safed, 1534-1572) indeed followed and strongly encouraged the custom of Kapparot. We, of course, treat all the customs and practices of the Arizal with the utmost seriousness and respect, as they reflect the customs of the Kabbalistic tradition, which we follow. Therefore, we do not accept Maran's ruling on this issue, and we follow instead the custom of the Arizal to perform Kapparot with a chicken. This practice is also codified by the great Rabbi from Halab (Aleppo), the Eretz Haim Sutton, and by the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909).
Here is an article by Rabbi Eliyahu Fink on why to not do kapparot with a chicken, bringing arguments as well as a diyuk from the Aruch Hashulchan. Though I would point out that not everyone holds like the Aruch Hashulchan.


Gabriel M said...

Jews are not allowed to follow another religion.

I don't mean to be snarky, but after having once again read through Devarim and writing up numerous insightsm might you not have missed the wood for the trees? If Moshe is trying to tell us anything at all, it is that we are not supposed to take a live and let attitude to subjects like this (comparatively the Zev Farber business is pretty trivial).

joshwaxman said...

1) to quote rav schachter, the reason that there were 12 shevatim, and each shevet had its own sanhedrin, was to allow for this sort of religious pluralism. variety is the spice of life, and that is why it is a good thing (and something Hashem desires) that there are Ashkenazim and Sefardim, chassidim and misnagdim, etc.

2) I am using "another religion" as a sort of melitza. It is a parallel Jewish religion, and not being part of it, we have less authenticity in dictating what and what is not authentic.

3) "Not allowed"? Sure. Jews are not allowed to violate Shabbos. But, baruch Hashem, we don't have in America attempts to coerce people to Shabbos observance. Or public protests about Shabbos observance.

thanbo said...

The Ari came from Ashkenazi ancestors. Luria being a family claiming descent from Rashi. So it may well have been his family minhag to do kapporos, regardless of kabbalah.

This is like those who mindlessly follow RYBS' chumrot, many of which he said were either his own chumra or family tradition, not meant for other people to adopt without thought.

David Ohsie said...

Agree with argument in general, but my experience with the communal Kapparot is that you aren't quite doing the minhag the way it was done (chicken per person), and the chicken(s) can end up quite abused. If you are going to bother to do something symbolic for Rosh Hashana, it seems you should do something which doesn't border on (or go over the border into) Tzaar Baalei Chaim. Fewer (or one) chicken per person helps there...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin